Hebrew Highlights 61 – APPLE OF HIS EYE
Shalom. This is Yuval Shomron, coming to you from Jerusalem.
ZEC 2:8 For thus says the Lord of hosts, "After glory He has sent me against the nations which plunder you, for he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye.
What exactly is meant by the “Apple of His eye”? In case you are wondering, no, Hebrew does not say literally “apple”. In this instance in Zechariah, the word used is “b’vava”. The word is used only this one time in the whole Bible. In Hebrew, a more common word from the same root is “beivav”, which means to sob. I checked 8 English versions of the Bible, and 7 of them agree on the “Apple of His Eye”. In this rare case, I will quote from the Amplified Bible, which sheds light of the actual Hebrew phraseology used here.
“For thus said the Lord of hosts, after [His] glory had sent me [His messenger] to the nations who plundered you--for he who touches you touches the apple or pupil of His eye.”
This addition of “pupil” bears true in another scripture from PSA 17:8, in which King David says, “Keep me as the apple of the eye; Hide me in the shadow of Thy wings.” In this case the word translated as “apple” is “ishon”, or literally, pupil. Since David wrote, “keep me”, as opposed to “make me”, it is a given assumption that David already saw himself, or perhaps, as we seen in the word from Zechariah, all the nation of Israel, as the “Apple of God’s eye”.
Now, it would be easy to say that this phrase simple means something like “someone very precious to God”. However, if that is the case, why didn’t the writers of the Bible just “near to my Heart”, as we read more often.
Let’s reinsert the phrase into the context of the Zechariah passage. "After glory He has sent me against the nations which plunder you, for he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye.” Here it becomes obvious that we are speaking of a warning concerning physical harm to the Nation of Israel, not hurting someone’s feelings. In Hebrew, the apple of the eye is the pupil. So, we could blatantly paraphrase this scripture by saying, “He who touches you pokes a stick in God’s eye.” Now that is very strong, but probably exactly what God meant.
Someone recently pointed out to me that the pupil is the part of the eye we see through. So, if Israel is the “pupil of God’s eye”, this means that God sees everything through Israel. Does this sound a little far fetched? Think about it. Israel is God’s chosen people. Israel is always in the center of the news. The Jewish people are always being picked on. Israel is the center of hatred for many of the world’s false religions. And of course, those of us who have finished the book know that the culmination of the history of this planet will revolve around Israel.
Those enemies of Israel who try to touch Her should really be scared to death. I don’t think poking a stick in God’s eye is a very safe thing to do.
Now, to change the subject just slightly, I wonder what should be the center of our focus? What lens should we be seeing the world through? What should all of our decisions revolve around? The answer is found in PRO 7:2, “Keep my commandments and live, And my teaching as the apple of your eye.”
Shalom, Shalom, from Jerusalem.